Taiwan Headlines, Mar. 6, 2021

We now know just how serious and desperate the water situation is.
The Irrigation Agency under the Council of Agriculture plans to turn to Matsu, the Sea Goddess, for help in resolving the current drought in the country and will team up with one of the most famous Matsu temples, the Dajia Jenn Lann Temple in Taichung City, to hold a ceremony to pray to the deity for rain.
It will be only the fourth such ceremony held by the Dajia Matsu Temple since it was was founded in 1730 during the Qing Dynasty.
The first one was held during Qing Dynasty, the second during the Japanese colonization period and the third in 1963.

Taiwan’s pandemic death toll has hit 10, as a man in his 60s passed away after contracting the coronavirus in Burma in December.

According to Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), domestically developed COVID-19 vaccines could start mass production in July, but only if they successfully complete ongoing clinical trials.

A motion to recall Taiwan Statebuilding Party legislator Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟) has met the legal threshold of 2,912 signatures to proceed to the second stage, according to the Central Election Commission (CEC).
Chen said will do his best to meet people’s expectations in him, but added he “could not meet the expectations of those who have no faith in me.”
He also said “the recall people aren’t ghosts, what is there to be afraid of?”

Broadcasting Corp of China president Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康) yesterday announced plans to organize training for 1,000 Internet celebrities to counter a similar program launched by China.
Jaw, a self-declared KMT candidate for president in 2024, said that DPP fears regarding China’s influence via the Internet has been exaggerated, and the DPP has proven itself adept at using the Internet to influence others, citing the “1450” controversy.
The term “1450” was coined in 2019 after the Council of Agriculture budgeted NT$14.5 million to hire four online content curators
It has since been used to sarcastically describe netizens allegedly paid by the DPP to criticize its opponents online.

KMT lawmakers are seeking a constitutional interpretation over the government’s move to nationalize irrigation associations.
The KMT claims the Irrigation Act contravenes freedom of association and amounts to government seizure of private property, adding that it harms Taiwan’s democratic governance.
Irrigation associations have traditionally been a cash cow for local patronage factions, the vast majority of which are associated with the KMT.

According to the latest statistics released by the Bureau of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, inbound investment from countries targeted by Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy grew 61.6 percent to US$381 million in the four years since its launch.
Further statistics released by the BOFT revealed that trade with NSP target countries climbed 3.7 percent from NT$3.09 trillion (US$110 billion) in 2016 to NT$3.2 trillion in 2020, while Taiwan investment in the region surged 18.8 percent to US$2.83 billion.
Various KMT officials slammed the numbers, saying that a 3.7 percent gain in trade since 2016 isn’t a success.

The Guam Visitors Bureau is to decouple its Taiwan business from “Greater China”, by establishing a Taiwan marketing committee, with its budget for targeting Taiwanese tourists expected to double according to Taiwan’s representative to Guam.

The commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command in an online conference said the US encourages Taiwan to invest in defense and obtain asymmetric defense capabilities.
He also said “and I would say, you know, for the greater U.S. government — consistent arms sales to Taiwan to help in this deterrence strategy is critically important. And again, that takes a balance to capabilities to go to them.”
He added “I’m deeply concerned about the next six years, but certainly the course of this decade as well. You know, given the changes in capacity, the numbers of fighters, bombers, ships, as well as the capability change there when it comes to the PRC — when I look back at the turn of the century here, Taiwan exceeded China’s capability and capacity numbers. That is no longer the case.”

At the opening of the annual Chinese National People’s Congress, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克強) said that Beijing stands by its “one China” principle.
China remains committed “to promoting the peaceful growth of relations across the Taiwan Strait and China’s reunification,” he told about 3,000 delegates at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
“We will remain highly vigilant against and resolutely deter any separatist activity seeking Taiwan independence,” Li said.
“We will promote exchanges, cooperation and integrated development across the Taiwan Strait. Together we can shape a bright future of rejuvenation for our great nation,” he added.
In short, same same.

Image courtesy of the Global Times FB page

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